On Tuesday night, 51 high-school students, one from each state, competed in Poetry Out Loud, a poetry recitation contest. In spelling-bee fashion, each student earned a slot in the national competition by climbing the ranks—-reciting poems from memory to a panel of judges—-to become state champions. The program, co-sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, based in Chicago, was held at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium.
The D.C. area was well represented. Amanda Fernandez (pictured), a senior at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, won first place and took home a $20,000 scholarship. The 17-year-old recited from memory three poems of her choosing: “Dulce et Decorum Est” by Wilfred Owen, “Ma Rainey” by Sterling A. Brown, and “Unknown Girl in the Maternity Ward” by Anne Sexton.
Third place and a $5,000 scholarship went to Alanna Rivera of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington.